I want to share my sage parenting advice to you would be or soon to be parents. The amount of products the corporate juggernauts are advocating for the health and well being of your baby is staggering. Here’s a secret: You don’t need most of them. I’ll never forget the day I walked into a Babies R’ Us superstore. It was similar to what I would imagine a cave man would feel walking into a Cabelas. Here I’ve been feeding my family by beating saber tooth’s over the head with a club when I could have been held up in my camoflauge tree stand firing a high powered sniper rifle from a mile away. The bottom line is you just don’t need all of that stuff despite what every well meaning parent or sales associate tells you. For the record I’m not advocating anything that would be unsafe for your baby. I love my kids and would do most anything for them, there are just choices you can make as a parent that will have no impact one way or the other. Do my kids remember or care that I didn’t buy them all of these things? No.
10 Baby Products You Don’t Need
- The Baby Wipe Warmer. Now wipes are about the greatest thing since sliced bread. They can just about clean up anything and you just toss them away. Fantastic. But honestly do they need to be warmed to 98.6 degrees? Jr. needs to learn that sometimes his diaper is going to need to be changed on the tailgate of your SUV with cold baby wipes. That’s all there is to it. I can’t get my kids to wear coats in the winter, what the heck do they care if their wipes are cold. Savings: $23.99.
- A Reclining High Chair. Your baby does not need to sleep while it’s eating. If it’s asleep put it in it’s crib or bassinet. By the cheapest high chair you can find that looks sturdy because it’s going to be trashed. The forty dollar high chair served our kids incredibly well. Savings: $201.
- A $300+ Stroller System. If you read various literature they would have you believe that anything less than $300 for a stroller system is crap, I certainly smell something stinky around here but it’s not the babies diaper if you catch my drift. The stroller system is awesome, an infant seat, a car base and a stroller it clips into is great. Then you can use the stroller when the baby can actually sit up for a couple of years. You can get a decent setup for $160 or so but they climb well past $300 for more trendy models. Don’t be fooled. Also do us all a favor, when little Johnny or Susie hit’s about 4 they should be walking not riding. Savings: $140.
- Pretty Much anything made by Peg Perego. As much as I enjoy a gilded bouncy seat your little bundle of joy doesn’t need one. Go check out at Babies R Us or some other site, you wont’ find anything made by them less than a $180. Let’s take bouncers for example. The bouncer is a fantastic little seat that actually gives you a fighting chance to say… eat. If you opted for the Peg Perego model you’d spend $189. Go for a nice Fisher Price model for $41 and you’re set. Savings: $148.
- The Temperpedic Adjustable Crib. Don’t be fooled thinking that there is no way you could buy a used crib. Yes you definitely need to check it against the latest safety standards, but there are plenty of cribs with a lot of life left in them. Here’s a helpful tip when assembling the crib, be sure it’s in the room you want it to be in. Those suckers are large and won’t fit through the doorway assembled. Not that I know from experience or anything. Savings: $200.
- The Noah’s Ark Tweed Diaper Bag. Don’t fall for this one. If you have a backpack at home, that will work fantastic for holding your babies essentials. Backpacks are designed to hold stuff. You do not need a dedicated use bag. Do Dad a solid and don’t make him carry the pink and teal stork covered diaper bag. Savings: $50.
- A Baby Changing Table. What are you going to do with that piece of furniture once your toddler is potty trained? Sure your back may get sore changing them on the floor, instead get a changing pad that has some straps on it and strap it to your dresser. Done. Savings: $125.
- A White Noise Generator. Baby doesn’t need to listen to Orca’s crying or Niagra Falls to go to sleep. In fact you’re probably damaging her hearing. Here’s something new, teach them to fall asleep with the sound of …. nothing. Savings: $30.
- A Mini Van. A car seat will fit in a lot of vehicles. If you have one baby, odds are you don’t need a new car. When the second one comes around you can start looking until then, your Sentra is going to work fine. Savings: $25,000.
- A Larger House. Guess what, babies can live in the space of a closet no problem. They are only about 2 feet long, max. My good friends baby lived in a closet for the first year. She’s a great 5th grader now, no worse for the wear. Savings: $200,000+.
What to Do with Your Savings
Since I’ve helped you save all this money let’s take our savings from above (we’ll exclude the house and minivan) and invest it in a Coverdell Education Savings Account. If you put the $917.99 in an ESA assuming a 10% rate of return on a low fee index based mutal fund you’d have $5104 saved for Susie when she enters college. All that money just for enduring a chilly bottom. That’s money well earned. Got some of your own money saving parenting tips? I’d love to hear them.
Photo Courtesy Hyperscholar